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West Elm branches out into pop-ups

BY CSA STAFF

In a first, West Elm, a Williams-Sonoma subsidiary, will make its products available outside of the brand’s own stores and website.

The Williams-Sonoma subsidiary said it has entered into a partnership with U.K. department store retailer John Lewis to open an in-store shop in the newly renovated John Lewis flagship on Oxford Street in London. The shop will open on Sept. 3, following the launch of a branded West Elm shop online at Johnlewis.com.

The West Elm shop-in-shop is part of John Lewis's home department makeover and represents the first time West Elm products will be available outside of the brand's own stores and websites.

“John Lewis's new home experience on Oxford Street offers the largest assortment of home products in any store in the U.K., making it a true destination for designers and customers from around the country," said Jim Brett, president of West Elm. “We're thrilled for West Elm to be the only branded shop-in-shop included in the space. This is the first time we've done anything like this, and it's an incredible opportunity for West Elm to work in tandem with one of the U.K.'s largest retailers to quickly reach new customers and grow our business."

The West Elm shop-in-shop will be situated on the third floor of the Oxford Street location and will showcase five lifestyle rooms. The retailer currently operates 77 branded stores in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.

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Report: Amazon scaling back hardware development

BY CSA STAFF

As Amazon.com deals with the fallout from a New York Times article over working conditions, another media outlet reports the retailer is scaling back its consumer device division and laying off dozens of employees in its hardware development center.

The division, called Lab126, last year released a flurry of 10 devices, including a television set-top box, the Echo and a wand for scanning bar codes at home, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But now Amazon is cutting back how much it spends on developing hardware in lieu of putting more capital into products that will lead to higher consumer spending on Amazon.com.

Read more by clicking here.

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The cost-cutting continues at Chico’s

BY CSA STAFF

While sales at Chico’s appear to be improving, the specialty retailer's turnaround plan also includes selling off one of its divisions.

Chico's FAS says it is selling off its Boston Proper specialty women’s apparel business.

Earlier this year, the retailer launched a turnaround plan that includes closing some 120 stores through February 2017, cutting jobs and reducing spending.

Chico’s plans to sell the direct-to-consumer portion of Boston Proper for an unspecified sum to an unidentified buyer and close all 20 Boston Proper stores. Chico’s acquired the catalog and online brand in 2011, and opened the first physical Boston Proper store in 2013.

On the chain’s quarterly conference call, CEO Dave Dyer said store performance of Boston Proper had not met company expectations.

Net income fell 93% to $2.1 million in the quarter ended Aug. 1, down from $30.1 million in the same period a year earlier, hampered by impairment and restructuring charges related to Boston Proper.

Net sales equaled $680.4 million, an increase of 1.4%, compared to $671.1 million.

Total company same-store sales rose 0.5%, with 0.9% growth at Chico’s, a 1.9% decline at White House | Black Market and 5.1% growth at Soma.

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